BLOOMINGTON — There is far more to the Rock Island girls' basketball team than Brea Beal. The Rocks showed just how much in Wednesday's opening-round game in the Large School Girls' Bracket at the State Farm Holiday Classic.
Sure, Beal led the Rocks (13-0) with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. However, all nine RI players who dressed scored, three others reached double figures and three others scored at least six in a 75-40 walloping of Bloomington.
"Everyone got some run and the starters got some rest," RI coach Henry Hall said. "We had nice balance and we shared the ball very well. Obviously, it starts with Brea, but we have a lot of weapons, and Brea does a great job of getting everyone involved."
When Hall talks balance, he means it in this game. The RI starters scored 40 points and grabbed 19 rebounds and the reserves finished with 35 points and 20 caroms.
Leading the charge for those off the bench were Brooklyn Larson with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-5 on 3s) and Jamyah Winter (10 points and seven rebound).
"At first, I was scared when I came in to play in varsity games; now I'm getting comfortable," Larson said. "It is so great to come on the court with Brea because everyone watches her and we can get open for shots."
Added Hall, "Brooklyn is going to be pretty special. She is still learning to be a varsity player but we knew this was going to happen eventually. She will just contribute more and more."
Hannah Simmer finished the game with 11 point, nine in the second half.
Kenwood 77, Geneseo 60: With three legitimate stars — and another on the bench with an injury — Kenwood was just too much for Geneseo. The Broncos (11-4) bolted out to a 7-0 lead in the game's opening minute and the Leafs (12-1) had to play from behind the entire contest.
"We just got wore down, which is normally what we do to our opponents," Geneseo coach Scott Hardison said. "This is why we came down here, to battle the best. They had some great players. I was proud of the way we battled and cleaned up our ball handling in the second half."
Geneseo just ran out of gas. After facing a double-digit deficit into the second half, the Leafs cut the gap to 47-41 early in the third quarter. However, after missing four of five free throws, the Broncos went on a 10-0 run and the tired Leafs kept coming up short on their shots the rest of the way.
Hannah Himmelman led Geneseo with 14 points and 13 rebounds; Maddi Barickman added 11 points and Josie Brown finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Standout freshman Brianna McDaniel led Kenwood with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Whitney Dunn added 19 points and Tamara Nard had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Rock Falls 29, Alleman 27: The same story, just a different day for the Alleman girls in a tough loss as the offense again struggled from the start.
"We got some good looks, but our execution and finish just wasn't there again," Alleman coach Megan McCracken said. "Our other problem we've had all season is getting to the free-throw line. We shot two free throws all day."
Still, the Alleman defense kept it close and the Pioneers (6-9) had a chance in the final minute.
"We had the ball with about 30 seconds to go and had the opportunity to tie or win the game," McCracken said. "We got a good look and Natika Woods just missed a shot at the buzzer."
Woods led the Pioneers with nine points.
Brimfield 50, Sherrard 31: The inability to score hurt Sherrard in a loss to a talented Brimfield team. The Tigers never scored more than nine points in a quarter and were held to just four in the second as Brimfield slowly pulled away for the win.
"We got the lead cut to six midway through the third quarter and then had some breakdowns," Sherrard coach Doug Swanson said. "We didn't take care against their pressure and all of a sudden we were down 12 and couldn't recover."
Sydney Adamson led Sherrard with 12 points.
El Paso-Gridley 55, Annawan 49: There will be no repeat for the Annawan Bravettes in the Small School Division of the State Farm Classic. Annawan was tied at 25 at halftime with El Paso-Gridley, but was outscored 17-13 in the third quarter and could never recover. Keegan Roco and Ella Manuel each scored 15 for Annawan.
Dixon's KSB Tournament
United Township 69, Rochelle 57: Jasmine Bell scored a career-high 31 points, and the Panthers (2-11) picked up their second win of the season in the event's opening round. Bell's freshman sister Jeanah (12 points) also joined Madison Gordon (11) and Jade Hunter (10) in scoring in double figures.
"Jasmine had a huge day, but we got nice contributions from everyone," UT coach Carie Walker said. "We had eight players with rebounds, five with assists and five with steals besides the four scoring in double figures.
"We also were 17 of 22 from the free-throw line, where we have struggled all season, and that was definitely a bonus, too."
Jasmine Bell scored 16 of her points to power a 20-point first quarter. UT led only 34-32 at halftime, but pushed the edge to 51-42 heading into the fourth period before showing growth from early-season struggles.
"We've played a tough schedule, and we've had trouble capitalizing when we have a chance to win," Walker said. "That's what was nice about this game. When they cut our lead to two late, we handled the situation this time, played with composure and finally made the big plays and got big defensive stops when we needed it."
The Panthers play again today at 4:30 p.m. opposite Rockford Guilford. Another win pushes UT into tonight's 7:30 game, which guarantees a top four finish.
State Farm Holiday Classic
Rock Island 61, North Lawndale 57: Rock Island boys' basketball coach Thom Sigel knew the seeds did not tell the whole story when the Rocks took on No. 13 seed North Lawndale in the opening round of the State Farm Holiday Classic on Wednesday.
Sigel was right. The Phoenix were a very tough task for the fourth-seeded Rocks, but Rocky was able to make just enough big plays late to pull out the 61-57 victory.
"They played hard on defense and they made some tough shots when we thought we had the game in hand," Sigel said. "We missed too many layups, missed too many free throws and we didn't rebound. Maybe it was the 11-day layoff, but we did get the win."
The 7-4 Rocks got the win in large part because of a huge night by senior JaMir Price. The senior scored 12 his team's 24 points in the first half and then tallied 14 in the second half for a game-high 26.